’22 Yards’ was supposed to be Amartya Ray’s first film as an actor but as luck would have it, the film got stuck for some time and the actor made his debut with a Bengali film last year. In this interview, he talks about the film, doing a film direction course at FTII, composing the music for the film, working with Barun Sobti and more.
You made your acting debut with the Bengali film ‘Uronchondi’ but ’22 Yards’ was the first film you shot for, right?
Yes, ‘Uronchondi’ released last year. It went to a couple of film festivals as well. But, ’22 Yards’ is technically my first film as an actor.
How did acting happen?
My family has been into films. My father Ranajit Ray is a filmmaker. He has primarily made documentaries and is a two-time National Award winner. I have always been inclined towards films and theatre in general. Mitali was looking for a fresh face. She actually wanted someone who could convey a sense of melancholy through his eyes. I went through a series of auditions
Tell us something about your character in the film.
My character’s name is Som Ray. He is a professional cricketer. When you first see him in the film, he is not playing. He is lost and does not have any friends. He is a troubled young boy who has gone through something. He then meets Barun’s character and both their lives take some interesting turns.
How was the experience of working with Barun Sobti?
It was wonderful working with him. He is a huge star but very humble and down-to-earth. He was very supportive during the shoot. I hope work with him again soon.
You are currently pursuing a course in film direction at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. Do you plan to become a director too?
To be very honest, I think of myself as a performer. Apart from acting in ’22 Yards’, I have composed three songs for the film. I used to do live shows in Kolkata as a musician. I have dabbled in different things as an artiste. I am training to become a director at FTII. I have just started my course and things are shaping up quite well. I am just twenty-two. I have some time to figure out which direction I want my life to go in. Right now, acting is my priority.
It must be difficult to strike a balance between studies and work.
Not really. FTII is not like a regular academic place. If I can make some time out of my course to do a film, it will be like practically applying what I am studying there. I would love to keep working along with continuing with my studies at FTII.
The film was shot a couple of years back. Was it difficult to wait for its release?
It feels a little disappointing when your first film gets delayed. I feel very happy that the film is coming out now. My Bengal film released only in West Bengal. This is the first time a film of mine is about to release on a national level. This is going to be a huge moment for me.
Did the fact that you come from a film family work as an advantage for you?
Well, since my father is a filmmaker I did grow up in an environment filled with discussions based on cinema.
What are you doing next?
I have a few offers from Kolkata and a big project in Mumbai. The FTII course is going to take a lot of time too.